Papa John's extends lifeline to franchisees amidst turmoil

Papa John's is throwing a lifeline out to its franchisees amidst all the turmoil of recent weeks. The chain's new assistance program for its U.S. and Canadian franchisees is an offspring of conversations between the brand's Franchise Advisory Council and the Papa John's Franchise Association, a news release said. 

The program will address sales and operating challenges following the ongoing publicity surrounding its founder's statements both last October around the NFL and this past May during a media training call. 

"People are at the heart of our business, and this program is one of many actions we are taking to prioritize our team, address the recent challenges and move Papa John's forward," President and CEO Steve Ritchie, said in the release. "I appreciate the open conversation that we have had with our franchisees and the support they have extended, both on this agreement and on the broader operating initiatives we are pursuing to improve performance and build a better future for our company and our stakeholders."

Leadership for both FAC and PJFA expressed full support for the new program, saying they remain focused on the business at hand and emerging as a stronger company in the future. 

"We believe it is time for the founder to move on," said PJFA President Vaughn Frey, referring to the company's founder, former board chair and former CEO John Schnatter who has made many negative comments about the company's current leadership. "(CEO) Steve (Ritchie) is pursuing the right initiatives to reinvigorate growth and recognizes the importance of working together to move forward successfully. We appreciate the assistance being extended to our franchisees and believe the assistance program will help mitigate the impact that the founder's inexcusable words and actions have had on franchisees."

The assistance program for domestic franchisees includes certain reductions in royalties, foodservice pricing and online fees through 2018. In addition, funds will be provided to support new marketing and re-imaging initiatives consistent with the company's new brand direction. 

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Franchising & Growth, Human Resources, Operations Management

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